For Judgeships in New York City
With Congressional primaries decided in a separate election in June and just a few state legislative races on the ballot, New York City’s primary elections on Sept. 13 are expected to draw few voters. Holding the primaries on a Thursday instead of the customary Tuesday does not help.
Yet there are several important-but-low-visibility judicial contests in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx that warrant broad attention. Here are our recommendations in four of these Democratic matchups.
SURROGATE’S COURT, MANHATTAN Two well-qualified sitting judges — Barbara Jaffe and Rita Mella — are vying to preside over this powerful court, which oversees wills, estates and adoptions. The winner will succeed Kristin Booth Glen, who is stepping down after seven years as one of the borough’s two Surrogate’s Court judges. Ms. Jaffe, a longtime Civil Court judge, has served since 2010 as an acting State Supreme Court justice, focusing largely on matrimonial cases. Ms. Mella won her Civil Court seat in 2006. She now sits in Criminal Court, but has also served as the principal court attorney for Margarita López Torres, a judge in Brooklyn Surrogate’s Court.
Both contenders are thoughtful and hard-working, and both support court reforms. In a close call, our endorsement goes to Ms. Mella. We are impressed by her solid grasp of the office, excellent people skills and obvious passion for the court’s work.
CIVIL COURT, MANHATTAN, THIRD DISTRICT Lisa Sokoloff is a trial lawyer with an extensive record of bar and pro bono activities. Those are good credentials, but she has an appealing opponent in Olga Statz, a law clerk in Brooklyn Surrogate’s Court. Ms. Statz has an unusual résumé that includes significant experience as a lawyer in the city’s law department and in private practice, and more than a decade of law school teaching. She is fluent in five languages, an asset for a judge serving a diverse city. And she has a distinguished record of human rights and charitable work. Our endorsement goes to Ms. Statz.
CIVIL COURT, BROOKLYN, FIRST DISTRICT This race pits Richard Montelione, an experienced litigator in private practice, against Lara Genovesi, the principal law clerk to Brooklyn’s supervising judge for matrimonial matters. Both candidates are qualified, but Ms. Genovesi’s steady professional manner and reputation for fairness stand out. We recommend Ms. Genovesi.
CIVIL COURT, THE BRONX, SECOND DISTRICT Eddie McShan is a special referee in State Supreme Court and adjudicates divorce cases. He has a good judicial demeanor and experience helping litigants who represent themselves in court. He is the clear choice over Juana Valentin, a Civil Court clerk with an undistinguished record, who resides in Brewster, N.Y.